Although Emma Talley wasn’t excited to see her alma mater, the University of Alabama, fall just short in their bid to win the NCAA Women’s Golf Championship last week, she’s still felt inspired by that team this week in Michigan.
Talley, who is a recent Alabama graduate and who had a celebrated amateur career, including capturing the 2013 U.S. Women’s Amateur, said she watched her squad come up just short to Arizona last week in the championship match.
But feeling inspired by their good play has got Talley into prime position to find the winner’s circle for the first time on the LPGA Tour.
Through three rounds at the LPGA Volvik Championship Talley sits at 9-under, just three shots back of the lead held by Minjee Lee. Talley fired a 6-under-par 66 on Saturday, with no bogeys, to move nearly 20 spots up the leaderboard.
The 66 was her best-ever round on the LPGA Tour.
“I played really, really well today and I'm really excited,” she said. “My goal the last couple weeks has been to shoot 2 or 3-under every day, and I shot Even yesterday so this kind of got me back to my average of 3-under, so I was really excited. To put myself in this position is exciting only like 12 tournaments in, so I'm excited.”
Talley said the golf course was playing difficult on Saturday, and the two-hour rain delay was a tough one to sit through, as she was making a nice run early in her day, sitting 4-under par through six holes.
She admitted the two-hour, 11-minute weather delay threw her off a little bit, but she managed to right the ship through the middle part of her round. And the fact she went bogey-free was a big positive for the Symetra Tour graduate.
“It was really tough,” she said of the golf course on Saturday. “The last two days have been totally different than the first day. It's really firm out there and the pins have been tucked, but I've been putting really well and just trying to put myself in the right positions.”
Even though Talley had her own golf to play last week and this week, she said she had an eye on her Alabama teammates as they tried for the National Championship. Talley admitted it was “stressful” to follow along, but said she’s positive the team members will do well in their future careers.
She said watching the girls of Alabama made her proud to be an alumnus.
“They've had a long year and it's hard to play that many days in a row and I think it could have been fatigue, it could have been a lot of things. But I'm really proud of them and most of them are turning pro pretty soon so they're all going to be out here one day,” she said. “I'm excited to kind of have the Alabama group back together.”
Talley’s 6-under par Saturday tied for the round of the day, and she’s in hot pursuit of the lead on the LPGA Tour for the first time.
However, she’s already got her eyes on the U.S. Women’s Open next week, as the second major of the year heads to Alabama at Shoal Creek. Talley said she is “very excited” to see friends and family, and be inspired to once again play well on a golf course she knows intimately.
“It's my home, it's my heaven on earth, for sure, that golf course is,” she said. “I'm probably going to know the majority of the fans that are going to be there, so I'm really excited. I'm going to have an Alabama outfit on one day.”